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Access issues inherited from Western Gara Gorge

Access to Dome Wall or Persian Carpets involves driving through private property to reach the Gara Gorge. Contact must be made with the landowners prior to heading out there:

Mike Coffey (Kenwood Park): 02 6775 3766

Pete and Susanne or Jeff Moore: 02 6775 3727

It is important to let the Coffeys know you’re coming (as access is very close to their house), and ask the Moores for permission to cross their land (providing the most efficient access to Dome Wall or Persian Carpets).

Good relations with these landowners are essential for New England climbers, and all visitors in the future, to access these excellent crags, so please treat them with respect. Leave all gates as you find them, cross fences at the strongest strainer post, etc etc. Access is likely to be refused if tenants are in the Moores’ ‘holiday’ house, so please be patient or better still ask about staying there yourself.

This is a link to a file you can use in Google Earth to see a map to The Dome Wall Parking area:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/24251869/Dome%20Wall%20Etc%20Access.kmz

History

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Wallaby Walls history spans a decade of development from 1978 to and inclusive of 1988. Like many Bi-Centennial projects Wallaby Wall was considered finished in 1988. However like many other cliffs in Gara Gorge there are always more new routes...You just have to look a little harder.

When Joe Friend arrived in Armidale in 1977 he was amazed at the amount of unclimbed rock in Gara Gorge. Every chance he got he would ask locals to lake him to untouched rock further down the gorge. One local who obliged was Brian (Bob Dog) Birchall. In 1978 six new routes went up at Wallaby Wall; three on the main wall and three on on the slabs just below the main wall, Slab City. Friend led all six with a variety of seconds, Brian (Bobdog) Birchall, Richard Thomas and Rod (Rock McClimbcr) McClymont. Two of these climbs are highly recommended, Timeless Realm (20) and Hang Ten (17). Nutkin (14) is short but of good quality. On the first ascent of Timeless Realm the seconds, Thomas and McClymont, were so blown away with the difficulties of the climb and its exposure that they decided to jumar the first two pitches! 1980 saw further action on the main wall. Paul Bayne with Austin Legler freed the tension traverse on the first pitch of Timeless Realm by climbing the flakey wall that leads up to the small belay tree, pealing off an alarming number of loose flakes in the process. Later that same year two multi-pitch 80m routes were put up at the right-hand end of the main wall, Gripping Yarns (17) by Jack Lattanzio with Al Stephens and Ed Sharp, and Against All Odds (18) by Rob Clark and Stephens.

Both routes are a little dirty but involve some pleasant climbing. During the ascent of Against All Odds Clark and Stephens spent two scary hours sitting under the big roof near the top of the climb as a violent thunder storm slowly moved up the gorge. At one point during the lightning display Stephens offered to give his entire rack to Clark ... for nothing! During 1983 bolt protected slabs were coming into vogue. Mark Colyvan found a beautiful water streak at Slab City but on closer inspection found the top half of the streak, to be too hard. So he bolted the flakey wall left of the streak but used the crack lower down to start. He named the climb Silence Is Golden (21), an excellent climb with a touch of boldness. That same year Timeless Realm received further attention from visiting English climber Chris Dale with John Lattanzio. He managed to straighten out the first pitch by stepping out right onto the wall just below the spike, then following the seam up to the roof and under-clinging the roof right to the tree and bolt belay. This avoided all the frigging-in-the-rigging of the previous two approaches, greatly improving the climb.

Slab City received all the new climbers’ attention in 1984. They were Better Get A Bucket (15) by Stephens with Simon Gay, Organic Fallout (18) by Gay and Stephens , and Bananas (20) by Richard Curtis with Stephens. Curtis was going to call the climb Al Goes Ape because Stephens became very excited about the need for a bolt up high to protect the second from a big top style swing! In 1986 only one new route was put up, again at Slub City. Unholy Trinity (21) by Curtis and Lattanzio with Birchall takes part of the first pitch of Elite Style, then goes up and out right through a slabby wall.

Visiting Queensland climber, Trevor (Grunter) Gynther thought that he had done a whole new route in January 1987, Macadamia (17)....a Queensland nut! However the first part of Gynthers route is new, making it a variant start to Deviant Death (17) ,a solo route Friend did in 1978. 1988 was the year of hard climbing on the main wall, and Cookie Monsters (See the editor for details or read all about it in one of the old editions of "Screamer"). Tim (Tadpole) Ball and Jack(The Slack) Lattanzio were responsible for all new ones that year, assisted on occasions by Ed Sharp and Pete Sims. Probably the best route is Peasant Uprising (22), a climb that goes from bottom to top on the main part of Wallaby Wall. Two other good ones by Tad are Viking Sunrise (22) and Crosseyed and Painless (22). There are still new walls and cracks to do but you might need a little imagination to find them.

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Routes

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As you walk in you may see a crack through a boulder above the left hand side of the creek about 30m left of the main wall and facing due south. This is Nutkin.

Nicely composed in a prime position, about 30m left of the main wall, facing south. Very pleasant.

Layaway to start, then jambs and a slab above

FA: J.Friend (Solo), 1978

The following climbs are on the main wall and are described from left to right as you face the cliff. Two climbs, Viking Sunrise and A Little Madness To Be Free start hall-way up the main wall and therefore require an abseil to the start. Finding the abseil points is tricky, Look hard or ask a local. All other climbs to date start from the ground.

A real eye-popper with a history of evolution, The first pitch originally involved a tension traverse and climbing over a dangerous spike and loose rock above, Subsequent parties have eliminated both these hazards and in doing so have made it a better climb. Start: A clean corner crack that curves over to the right at its end.

  1. 40m Clean jambing with some off-width up to below the spike, Step out right onto the wall, then continue up a thin scam to the roof. Undercling/jam the roof right to the tree. Bolt and wires belay.

  2. 35m Traverse right along the grassy ledge to a flakey layback groove. Up this carefully to below roofs, then move across right lo exit crack. Belay.

  3. 12m Up over scrub into chimney to top.

FFA: Paul Bayne & A. Legler

FA: FA J. Friend, R. Thomas & R. McClymont, 1978

Start: Just near the top of Timeless Realm, on the upstream side. Abseil 50m from a tree back from the edge, to a ledge at the base of a V-groove. #11/2 and #2 Friends for belay. A separate abseil line is advised due to the difficulty of pulling the ropes from the start of the climb.

  1. 40m Up groove, follow thin scam (crux), move left onto ledge. Up corner flake trending right at top to ledge and bolt belay.

  2. 10m Step left onto large Iedge (3m) then up wall and large flake, past bolt runner to top.

FA: T. (Tadpole) Ball & J.Lattanzio, 1988

Start: As for Viking Sunrise1, abseil into blocks right and above belay for V.S. Poor protection.

Follow flake left and up into shallow groove, up this, stepping right into cnr. flake. Note: A fall before the flake could be messy! Up Flake through two overlaps and over bulging headwall (crux), follow leftward Hake to top.

FA: T. Ball & J.Lattanzio, 1988

Start: On the scrubby ramp 50m right of Timeless Realm, either at the base of a vertical off-width or 5m right at a corner. 5 BRs. plus other gear.

  1. 10m Either up offwidth to large tree, or small corner 5m. right, trending leit to large tree.

  2. 30m (crux) Up right-trending ramp to black wall BR. Move left and up past bolt to grassy ledge. Up shallow corner, past 2 BRs to a series of left trending ledges, past last bolt, stepping right to base of corner.

  3. 30m Up corner over small slab trending right to tree and ledge.

  4. 10m Rightward diagonal corner crack to top.

FA: J.Lattanzio & T.Ball, 1988

Start: From the belay at the end of the second pitch.

  1. as normal

  2. as normal

  3. 30m Step right from belay and follow flake up to corner and follow this to small ledge. Belay.

  4. 10m Up black slab to scrubby ledge, and up leaning crack to top.

FA: J.Lattanzio & P.Sims, 1988

Start: At a layback crack leading to a large yellow roof approx 50m. right of Timeless Realm, and approx 5m right of Peasant Uprising.

  1. 25m Up crack in corner to ledge below roof. At the fig tree move left 3m to a ledge below a chimney.

  2. 30m Crux, Up the chimney then move left to the base of an off-width crack. Up off-width and jam above, move around tree and continue to a manky ledge,

  3. 25m Up chimney/groove then crack , onto a ledge, then up off-width to top.

FA: R.Clark & Al Stephens, 1980

Start: On the scrubby ramp 50m. right of Timeless Realm, either at the base of a vertical off-width or 5m. right at a corner. 5 B.R/s. plus other gear.

  1. 10m Either up offwidth to large tree, or small corner 5m right, trending left to large tree.

  2. 30m (crux) Up right-trending ramp to black wall (BR). Move left and up past bolt to grassy ledge. Up shallow corner, past 2 BRs to a series of left trending ledges, past last bolt, stepping right to base of corner.

  3. 30m Up corner over small slab trending right to tree and ledge.

  4. 10m Rightward diagonal corner crack to top.

FA: J.Lattanzio & T.Ball, 1988

Start: At the upstream end of the crag, virtually the last section of cliff. Twin diagonal cracks split a smooth orange wall. A nice looking line.

Climb the bottom diagonal to the vertical, then swap to the top crack. Continue through some mank to the lop.

FA: T.Ball & E.Shurp, 1988

Start: Right from and opposite Crosseyed And Painless, the left side of a cracked pillar at Ihe far right end of the cliff. But what an inspiring name.

Bonus points if you can sandbag anyone onto this beautiful piece of rock architecture. The first climb put up on this cliff. So do it for historical reasons. Besides you're not a real climber till you've done an off-width.

Up sleep off-width to roof, then up to a ledge before the final crack, exit over vegetation at lop, then off right.

FA: J.Friend & B.Birchall, 1978

Below the main Wallaby Wall is a less serious slabby section of cliff called Slab City. Like all slab climbs in Gara, the routes tend to become dirty over time due to lack of traffic. The climbs are good but they may need slight brushing for safety and enjoyment reasons. The first route you come to as you walk down the creek/gully is Bananas, a steep wall route just before the main slab.

On the small wall at the extreme left hand end of Slab City

  1. 25m. Up crack trending right up to overlap. Move right to the arete and then back left up the easy arete to top.

Start: Just around the corner from Bananas. A curving, hanging crack. Great atmosphere and friction experience. When you're firing caming devices into this exciting little route, spare a thought for poor Joe who did it with Hexes. Highly recommended.

  1. 15m Up into scrub and over it lo belay above a tree to the left of where the obvious underhung crack starts.

  2. 20m Crux. Hang on tight and follow the underhung crack.

  3. 10m Over blocks and scramble through to tree belay.

FA: J.Friend, R.McClymont. R.Thomas, R.McClymont & R.Thomas, 1978

Start: Right of Hang Ten and left of the fig tree, a slabby wall leading to low angled cracks. Shares the upper section with Deviant Death. (Take a #4 Friend).

Straight up wall, then to the top of the flake crack. Move right approx. 2m. then straight up to thin, steepening crack corner. Step left into wide crack/cave, jam up to bush/vine, then pull over the bulge/roof and straight to top. Tree belay,

FA: T. Gynthcr & Al Stephens, 1987

Start: A picturesque slab with faded memories of a close shave. Between Macadamia and Elite Style, at the fig tree, Take a wire brush.

Up diagonally left of the fig tree to a slight crack, then up to a thin crack. Keep going to where it steepens and a right-hand corner starts. p towards an off-width on the left and exit up a crack through some vines. Easier blocks and wall to top.

FA: J.Friend (Solo), 1978

Start: In a slight alcove right of Deviant Death, 1m left of Silence Is Golden. The description is a bit vague but it shares the same start and part of the first pitch of Unholy Trinity.

  1. 47m Crux. Up in slight left-hand corner to fine cracks, up these and left to the vegetated corner. Across(?) left on wall to hand crack in left-hand corner. Up this onto an arête, joining a crack from left under a wall (?).

  2. 6m Up off to right.

FA: J.Friend & B.Birchall, 1978

One metre left of 'Silence is Golden' at a slight corner.

  1. 20m. Up crack to ledge. Belay.

  2. 25m. Up corner through small overlap and follow incipient cracks to second overlap (bolt runner) then trend right up slab to top.

Start: "... but my eyes can see.."

The two bolts on the wall are hard to see until you get very close to them. An excellent route with a touch of boldness. 1m right of Elite Style/Unholy Trinity, a crack leading to a water streak.

  1. 20m Up crack to ledge. Belay.

  2. 30m Continue up sleep crack above to ledge. Then up slabby wall to the left of the water streak, trending leftwards past two B.R.s to scoop. Carefully up scoop to belay. (Cracks or tree).

Start: 15m. right of S.I.G., a scoop leading to an arête. Another excellent climb. Unfortunately some of the organic substances have grown back and needs occasional harvesting. Great fun! One B.R.

  1. 10m At the scoop, move right diagonally, via a short crack, to a group of small trees below the arête. Belay.

  2. 35m Jug-haul up the arête , step right and continue up a crack which blanks out. Continue up the arête to a stance and a bolt, Clip it! (Stepping left off the arete here incurs instant disqualification, and an appearance before the Ethics Committee). Exciting layaways (crux) then lead to easier ground.

FA: S. (The Apprentice) Gay & A.Slephens, 1984

Start: At the extreme right-hand end of Slab City. A crack onto a ledge, then a slabby wall. One BR plus other gear.

"How do you feel?"... "Better.... better get a bucket!" - M. Python.

Up the crack, step left onto the slabby wall, past a bolt, then up to the fig tree, step left again, then easily to the top.

FA: Al Stephens & S.Gay, 1984

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